Sometimes I can't help but laugh at myself...
One of my deepest desires in life is to feel truly connected to both myself, and the world around me.
I can't explain why this is important to me, but it's an inbuilt need I have. When I feel this sense of connection I'm at my happiest, most creative, productive, loving, and nurturing, self.
Over the years I can track a very clear correlation between how connected I feel to nature, and how connected I feel to myself.
These pictures are some views from my home, as you can see I live in the countryside. I'm surrounded by fields, and woodlands.
So you'd think that living in the countryside, surrounded by all of this lush green nature, that it would be easy for me to feel connected at all times.
But the truth is, I totally take my surroundings for granted!
I grew up by the sea, and always felt connected to that environment.
The sea demanded my attention.
It was constantly changing, literally in front of my eyes every minute, as the tides continuously took the sea and the river in and out.
These changes impacted on my life.
When I was at school I had a summer job at a local hotel and restaurant, and if the tide was in, it meant I could catch the little ferry across the river, and save myself the longer walk up to the bridge and back down the other side!
On a more dramatic note, if the tides, seasons, and moon aligned, my town could often flooded twice a year!
This constant movement of the sea really connected me to its rhythm.
I could see it moving, and changing. Sometimes gently lapping at the shore, and sometimes crashing against the cliffs with enough force to bring them tumbling down into the sea itself.
I could feel the coolness of water as I paddled, and swam in the sea, I could feel the fine spray of the sea against my skin.
I could taste the salt in the air, and feel the changes in pressure so that I knew when a storm was coming.
I could tell by the light in the hazy mornings if it was going to be a scorching hot day.
I could hear the rhythmic ebb and flow of the waves, and the dull tones of the fog horn warning sailors of the rocks close by.
I couldn't help but feel connected to the sea, as I literally lived and breathed it. It made all of my senses pay attention.
Growing up, I had the beach as my playground, with the rock pools and cliff tops to explore. Everyday felt like a holiday.
Many times as I was growing up, I would take my troubles and teenage angst down to the beach, and just sit listening to, and watching, the sea move in and out. And every single time, without fail, I always felt better.
My sense of self was restored, I felt calmer, and more able to decide what to do next.
This isn't just some lovely idea, there is now plenty of research that backs up the physical and psychological benefits of being in nature.
So why is it today, living in the countryside, surrounded by nature, that I often find myself feeling disconnected.
I have to admit that I totally take where I live for granted.
Days can merge together, I can often miss the subtle changes that happen all around me everyday.
Because the changes aren't as dramatic as they were living by the sea, I have to make more of a conscious effort to connect with my environment.
One way I do this is to make sure that everyday I step outside and experience my environment - yes some days, especially when it rains, I'd rather view nature through my windows, and although that's better than nothing, you actually miss so much information - did you know that according to Tabi Jayne's research, in The Nature Process, you have 54 senses! Yes 54 - that's a lot of information that you can receive.
And one way that works for me is to watch the sky. To notice the change in colours and the cloud formations. Looking up not only gives me a different perspective, but it helps me connect to the ever changing landsacpe around us in 'real-time'.
And every time without fail, that I make the effort to connect to nature through any of my senses, it's incredible how different I immediately feel - always present and connected!
How do you connect to nature in your daily life?
If this interests you, we'll be diving deeper into this topic, and others to help you feel more deeply connected in your everyday life, in SHEro Summer School (www.SheroSummerSchool.com)